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Access issues inherited from Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains are a World Heritage listed area. The Grose Valley, the cliffs around Katoomba and much of the Narrow Neck peninsula are part of the Blue Mountains National Park which is managed by the NPWS. The Western Escarpment - where most of the climbing is - is Crown Land managed by the BMCC. While the NPWS Plan of Management nominates several locations in the National Park where rock climbing is deemed appropriate, the majority of the climbing remains unacknowledged. To maintain access our best approach is to 'Respect Native Habitat, Tread Softly and Leave No Trace'. Do not cut flora and keep any tracks and infrastructure as minimal as possible.

Practically all crags are either in National Park or in council reserve: dog owners are reminded that dogs are not allowed in National Parks at any time and fines have been issued, while for crags on council reserve the BMCC leash law requires that dogs be on-leash.

Ethic inherited from Blue Mountains

Although sport climbing is well entrenched as the most popular form of Blueys climbing, mixed-climbing on gear and bolts has generally been the rule over the long term. Please try to use available natural gear where possible, and do not bolt cracks or potential trad climbs.

Because of the softness of Blue Mountains sandstone, bolting should only be done by those with a solid knowledge of glue-in equipping. A recent fatality serves as a reminder that this is not an area to experiment with bolting.

If you do need to top rope, please do it through your own gear as the wear on the anchors is both difficult and expensive to maintain.

It would be appreciated if brushing of holds becomes part of your climbing routine - do it with a soft bristled brush and never a steel brush!

The removal of vegetation - both from the cliff bases and the climbs - is not seen as beneficial to aesthetics of the environment nor to our access to it. However, the fast growing scrub can conceal walking tracks in mere months, so bringing a pair of secaturs and pruning as you walk is a good way of helping out with the constant task of track maintenance. Some appropriately discreet pruning is a far better alternative then track braiding (which causes far more damage). It's also a good warmup for your forearms! However, do so only on Council land and not in the National Park.

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Some content has been provided under license from: © Australian Climbing Association Queensland (Creative Commons, Attribution, Share-Alike 2.5 AU)

Routes

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Start: Make your way to the lookout on the Prince Henry Cliff Walk directly below the Katoomba side of the Scenic Skyway. From the lookout the rap point is on the small but obvious rock platform 30m down and to the left.

There are 3 carrot bolts to rap off. They are located on the RHS of the rock shelf slightly obscured by some bushes. Do NOT rap off the 2 carrot bolts a few metres further left. Take 15+ bolt plates and 15+ draws. Rap 30m to the 2 carrot bolt 2nd pitch belay (located at the bottom of the grey slab before the undercut section) followed by a 40m rap to the bottom of the route. Facing the cliff, the route starts on a ledge a few metres up and to the left.

  1. 45m (21) A long pitch. After a very hard start tend right up the ramp. To avoid hideous rope drag put a long sling on the last bolt on the traverse. Now climb up and up and up, mainly on jugs, but even so there is one unnerving run out section. A 60cm sling for an obvious thread can mitigate the runout. Eventually you come to the 2 bolt belay.

  2. 30m (22) An excellent pitch with a couple of tricky sections to keep things interesting. Don't forget to smile for the cameras.

FA: S Moon's, 1990

1 18
2 18
3 2
4 16
5 20

Named after the remorseless tunes the Scenic Railway plays across the valley. Good climbing, take the usual rack of big cams plus extra medium cams and lots of wires. 8 or 9 bolt plates. A few runouts on easy ground, average scary Blueys trad. Walk up to Ice :- walk down Furber Steps or catch the scenic railway down, turn east. A few minutes past the creek there's a boulder 6m above the track with a info sign below it. A minute or so past this is a huge yellow boulder 15m above the track with a well worn track up to it. Up here. Ice is in the left side of a huge gully 100m above all this. Walk left 60m, past a fused corner with a retreat bolt and tatt at 12m, to a thin right facing corner with a roof at 10m. Short fist crack on the right wall.

P1 (28m, 18) Up corner system, right under little roof then up fused corner to a 2BB where the cracks head off right. P2 (25m, 18) Step right up drummy flake for 11m to small roof. traverse R 4m to next crack system and up to 2BB on shale ledge. P3 (30m, 3) Walk right to good ledge. belay below thin crack on headwall P4 (10m, 17) Up unprotected wall to 3BB on ledge. P5 (30m, 19, 4 bolts) Fight through headwall then up thin crack to 3BB at bush. P6 (30m, 17, 1 bolts) Up thin crack with good wires and large cams in breaks, then right a meter past bolt and up 5m higher, then diagonally right up thin flake to good ledge 10m below roof. 2BB Pitch 7 30m 18 Right to ledge and R past 3Brs, then up and left on good rock to top.

FA: mikl law & neil monteith, 1 Jan 2013

Mixed climbing masterpiece. The excellent final pitch can be seen easily from the lookouts on Cliff Drive.

Start: Huge right facing corner directly beneath Wollumni Look out. Best access is to walk-in via Furbers Steps, left at the bottom and follow track to HUGE boulder on left. Head directly up the hill towards the cliff.

  1. 10m (17) Up corner and slightly left to belay at twin breaks.

  2. 45m (22) Up and left on wall just in from the arete to small ledge and scoop. Left to the arete to belay.

  3. 20m (17) 4m left, up slightly left to ledge below yellow corner.

  4. 40m (18) Corner, then traverse right to chossy ledge. Crack to ledge.

  5. 50m (17) Corner, right at top and up to tree below the lookout.

FA: M.Wilson & J.Clark, 1994

8m past Wollemi lookout, climb the fence and walk to the right below a small boulder to find the abseil rings above you. Abseil just left of the small tree (looking out) to 2 x rings 15m down, and keep on abseiling clipping some bolts along the way to keep in contact with the wall. A 60m rope JUST reaches in 1 abseil on stretch (tie a knot in the end). This is the last route off the right side of the small, exposed footledge.

Take at least 12 bolt plates, a single rack (BD 0.3 - 3) and some mid-sized wires.

Pitch 1 - From the belay, trend up and right over the void to a bolt, then continue upwards with 1 very hard move at 2/5ths height. Supplement bolts with cams and wires (good gear) as necessary. Belay on 2 x rings 15m down from the top.

Pitch 2 - Hard start, then up past carrots to roof. Hard moves to turn the lip (don't forget the hard-to-see carrot bolt on the lip of the roof, and the optional #3 placement just below the roof proper in the vegetation). Belay off abseil anchors well back from cliff edge.

Approached along the main tourist clifftop track from Wally World direction.

From Allambie Lookout, the route is visible as the arete down and 40m to the left (looking out).

Continue walking towards the Three Sisters to next promontory and 2m before wooden drain crosses track (small cliff line to your left); head down right through bush for 6m (down 1m rock step) and around left to 2 ring rap station.

Abseil 6m diagonally left to single ringbolt on clifftop (the route anchors are 3m further down on grey slab).

Re-belay abseil rope and abseil 35m+ down overhanging arete and onto wall and left (looking in) to 3RBB on small foot ledge.

Make sure to bounce off the wall and clip into draws on the way down.

Fix a 60m abseil rope from the top station all the way down; and climb on another rope.

Good climbing, great exposure.

FA: Phil Sage, 2004

FA: J Ewbank & C Monteath, 1969

Start: Corner right of detached flake about 80m left of GwtW.

  1. 28m (15) Corner, right wall of corner then right across ledge to belay.

  2. 27m (21) 'Steep' ramp and mantle shelves, right to ledge at base of faint arete. Traverse left then up through juggy terrain and right onto ledge.

  3. 33m (20) Up slab, left above roof and belay on halfway ledge.

  4. -m (-)

FA: I.Brown & T.Williams, 1993

Start: Below the steep corner at top of cliff left of 'Echo Crack'.

  1. 25m (27) Left facing corner to ledge, steep wall to scoop and ledge. can be aided (22M1).

  2. 40m (19) Corner to block, left leading groove to shale band. Belay on left.

  3. 15m (13) Shale band, right to ledge below the main corner.

  4. 25m (20) Corner to ledge on right.

  5. 21m (21) Corner to ledge on right.

  6. 20m (18) Step left, corner to dirty groove, left and up to belay (hanging).

  7. 15m (18) Up wall.

FFA: K.Carrigan

FA: (J.Ewbank & J.Pickard), 1968

Huge crack underneath main lookout, requires standard rack with the addition of up to ten #3 camalots.

  1. (13) Chossy corner and crack leading left to well signposted belay ledge. \

  2. (18) Small corner to crack then veering left to mantle loose shale ledge. Ring bolt belay.

  3. (25) Left over the void and up to get established in crack (crux) then up. Never quite gets dry. Bring lots (9) of number 3 cams. Up to belay with two carrots though horizontal above ideal.

  4. (22) Up then leave crack to bridge left past 3 good carrot bolts (2014) and original rotten aid bashies beside them to top. If you've freed pitch 3, pitch 4 feels just as hard!

Walk off 15mtrs then scramble up 1 meter ledge and follow trail meandering up then right a little under last cliff to lookout. Well done

FA: John Ewbank & J Davis, 1968

FFA: Gilbert Meunier & Garth Miller, 1995

From the Echo Crack belay on the Shale Ledge (5m left of Alive in a Bitter Sea belay), head directly up the wall on glue-in rings and trad, with big runouts. As for Alive in a Bitter Sea, traverse left to the Echo Point belay to escape.

Pitch 1 is a closed Project. Pitch 2 can be climbed at 26.

Classic Blueys steep face climbing in an inspiring location, but with the old-school epic of extremely bold climbing above gear.

Original bolts replaced (like for like) with Glue-in Stainless Carrots in 2016!

Access either by walking to the top of the route from Echo Point and rapping the route (recommended), or by climbing the lower pitches of Echo Crack or Silent Echo to the huge shale-band ledge at half height.

To access from the top, make your way from Echo Point Upper Viewing Platform, down the ramp and head towards the Lower Viewing Platform. 30m after you turn left from the bottom of the ramp (heading towards the lower platform), there is a yellow mark on the fence on your right. Step over this, then down scrub heading vaguely right through bush to rock pagoda. Keep the rock on your right initially as you head down the hill, following a vague weakness and a number of yellow arrows. When the next cliffline appears on your left, hug that and down a number of small shelves to arrive at 2 x carrot + 1 fixed hanger belay directly above Echo Crack.

The top of Alive in a Bitter Sea is at 2 Stainless carrots (and one original Bash-in) atop a series of big teetering blocks, approximately 10m across the wall directly in front of you, at the same height as the Echo Crack top-out.

P1 25m (24 R/X) - Hard moves directly up past 2 carrots (caution getting to 2nd Carrot, optional #0.4 or Medium RP). Traverse straight right via balancy moves for several metres to flake. Stitch this up with gear (Thread, #0.5, #2, Small - Medium Wires), then hard moves up vague corner to #0.75/#1 placement, and directly right (#0.5) to detached flake, up this (medium wire and optional #2 cam) to gain "hanging blunt arete". More hard moves up arete past one last carrot bolt to belay on small flake stance (Piton + Bolt + #4/#3.

P2 40m (25 R) - Stupidly hard at the grade. Traverse directly right from the belay (#4) for several metres, then diagonally up and right to shale break (#2/#3), then up via 2 carrots of sustained hard climbing up blunt arete to infamous dyno, and more hard arete climbing (#1, #4/#5, Carrot, #1C3, #2, #4/#0.4) to belay on small ledge (3 carrots) - Consider shifting the belay further right (#0.75, #1) to be out of the way for the nails at the start of the next pitch).

P3 - 15m (23 R) - Straight up via utterly desperate thin moves off the belay to a very high carrot (caution getting to this bolt!), more hard moves past #0.3/#0.4 to another carrot, then easier climbing up (trending vaguely left) past several cam placements (2 x #0.5, + other possibilities) to belay on top of big flake (3 Carrots).

P4 - 10m (14) - Traverse left along face, then across Echo Crack past 3 carrots and several possible gear placements, up onto belay ledge (2 Carrots, 1 FH).

Walk back up to Echo Point.

Start at low angled black wall 130m R of EC. P1, 30m, scrubby crack to ledge. P2, 50m, step L onto ramp and up (4friend). P3, 30m, L on loose shale to arete, then right into corner, over large flake to corner and stance. P4, 25m, Up corner with hard move at mid height to roof, traverse under roof on good holds (BRs) to (DBB) and keep traversing around arete not up. P5, 40m, (22), flake to corner with bouldery move protected by piton (BR & PR) to steep crack, hard move under roof at piton.

FA: J.Ewbank & J.Prickard, 1968

The Original route up 'Echo Point'.

FA: B Allen / J Ewbank, 2000

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